The Festival of a Thousand Stories is once again with us and this year promises to be one of the best yet. This years highlights include he Blues Cruise on Sunday afternoon. A poets breaky, performances, story writing workshops and the Poets Trek. Bourke and Outback NSW has a long history of story telling and poetry being the one time home of Henry Lawson, Will Ogilvie, The Breaker amongst many others. A huge highlight this year will be the Bourke Arts Council presenting a number of activities at the Port O' Bourke Hotel from Monday to Friday from 7pm on the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th of September! Check out the Festival website at www.festival1000stories.com.au All welcome at this years festival.
It may not quite be Summer time but our here we have already begun our Summer season. It is already 35 degrees and spring is being replaced by warmer winds. Tourism is important for this town and over the years many businesses have enjoyed growth through their ability to offer visitors a unique Outback experience. If you don't know what it is like to spend a day in the Outback during Summer or have not enjoyed the long twilight that Outback evenings offer then why not do it in 2015? We would love to see you out here and help extend our busy winter tourist season into our warmer months!
It never ceases to amaze me that there are always people willing to have a go at new business, grow existing business, look for opportunities and take risks. In Bourke recently despite the tough times of drought, low flow in the river and declining population we have had new businesses start up. The Oxford Hotel has a new lease of life and has been refurbished and opened as the Oxford Sports Bar, we have new lease holders at the Mitchell Caravan Park, a new tour has commenced known as Back O' Bourke Tours, a new gallery has opened in the main street, Little Birdy continues to expand its meal offerings, the Parnaby family has finished the refurbishment of the old Hall and Luke and Karen are back in town with the Outback Show. I understand that at least one motel is under new management and many of the main street businesses continue to improve the appearance of their own shops. I am sure there are many other changes.
Thanks everyone for having a go! Over 100,000 visitors are expected to come to Bourke this year and all of these changes will be very much appreciated by these visitors and locals alike. Image below shows the entrance to the Mitchell Caravan Park.
The Inland NSW Tourist Organisation have recently been working with the local tourism industry to come up with a destination management plan for the Outback region of New South Wales.
This is one of the opening statements in the plan and I can't think of a better way to describe the experiences on offer in our part of the world.
Outback New South Wales is a rite of passage: a must do experience that rivals the rock and the reef; an escape from the mundane of everyday to a world like no other; an iconic Australian pilgrimage; an adventure to the back o’ Bourke and back again.
Our ancient Aboriginal culture stretches back to the dawn of time, but we are custodians of a living culture, evolving with modern life but respecting and honouring the land and our heritage.
Our rugged landscape is ever changing: vast, open and alive with the colour and movement of abundant and iconic Australian wildlife.
Our people love to spin yarns that our visitors never forget; stories of legends and larrikins, of heroes and madmen; tales of black opal, treasure and tragedy.
We promise a brilliant adventure.
We want our visitors to create their own legend on a journey that takes them from the heart of country to the edge of the outback.
Nothing says this better than a visit to Mount Gundabooka or the many other attractions around Bourke. Stay a while!
So I am told it is not everyday that a tourist centre installs dog kennels for the benefit of those that may be travelling with their four legged friends. Well the Bourke visitors centre has just upped the ante! If you are travelling with your hound and would like to spend the day visiting Bourke attractions such as the Outback Show, Exhibition Centre or the Jandra paddleboat and you would like your pup to be secured then feel free to drop in to the Bourke visitors centre and ask if the kennels are available. And there's more...the four star kennels are free. The image below shows Robbie and Pat putting the finishing touches to the kennels.
The Enngonia races were run recently with over 500 people attending the meeting. The club has been trying to run their event over the past 4 years and have been rained out each time. Am looking forward now to the Louth Races which are the single biggest event in the local sporting calendar. The races are on the 10th of August 2013 and a crowd of over 2,000 people are expected. www.louthraces.com
The addition of the nationally renowned Outback Show to Bourke's tourism line-up will see the iconic outback town claim a stake in the increasingly important regional tourism industry, according to Bourke shire council tourism and development manager Phil Johnston.
The Outback show, which features horseman Luke Thomas and his bullocks, camels, stock and heavy horses, was a major drawcard in Longreach and now is proving to be the same in Bourke.
In addition to the town's already established and highly regarded Back O' Bourke Exhibition centre and the popular Jandra paddle boat tours of the Darling River, Bourke now has much to offer the growing number of regional tourists, Mr Johnston said.
“Our research shows that people are choosing to stay longer in the town because there's just so much more to do here,” he said. “We're attracting more visitors who are deciding that Bourke is a must-see destination on their itinerary and most of our visitors are surprised about how much there is to see and do once they get here, and how beautiful the town is.”
Bourke visitors are well catered for with a range of accommodation, from luxury cabins to budget motels and free camp sites. As well as the big three ticketed attractions – the Outback Show, the Exhibition Centre and the Jandra paddle boat – Bourke also offers a thriving cafe culture, quality gift shops and a range of dining options.
The town is also blessed to be set among some of the outback's most spectacular natural wonders. Gundabooka National park boasts a stunning landscape of red ochres and easy access to ancient aboriginal rock art. Mt Oxley offers views to the horizon and the Darling River is a haven for bird life and also offers great fishing.
“We've worked hard to improve what we can offer visitors to the town,” Mr Johnston said. “We are growing the tourism product, giving more options to our visitors and encouraging them to stay longer to experience what a real outback town is like.
“Bourke is a surprise to most people. We value our visitors and try to offer them an unforgettable experience.”